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17 April 1967, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Phair was brought up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, Illinois, by her adoptive father (a physician) and mother (an art teacher). It was a perfectly happy childhood, during which she befriended the actress Julia Roberts (a friendship later recounted in the song Chopsticks). Her first love was art, but at Oberlin College in Ohio she became involved in the local music scene, which included bands such as Codeine, Bitch Magnet, Seam and Come. Phair also began writing songs, and became friends with Chris Brokaw, the guitarist with Come, and after college they both moved to San Francisco and began playing together. When Brokaw moved back east, Phair sent him tapes of her music, which generally comprised 14 new songs each. Brokaw recognized her talent and alerted others. Although Phair herself was not as confident in the quality of these still-evolving songs, she did agree to sign with Matador Records in the summer of...